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Top Sports Stories 2016: Cross-country five-peat

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12/23/2016 6:00 AM |

Mattituck runner Melanie Pfennig 110416 copy

Mattituck’s girls cross-country team won yet another Suffolk County Class C championship, only this time it was different. This time it was five times sweeter.

The Tuckers pulled off a rare five-peat with their fifth straight county title. “It is a team tradition,” said Melanie Pfennig.

Appropriately enough, Pfennig, a senior who is the only team member to have run for all five championship teams, led the way. She won the Class C race at the Section XI Championships for the second year in a row, completing Sunken Meadow State Park’s five-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 28.52 seconds. Mattituck eighth-grader Kylie Conroy was fourth in 21:11.35 and seven Tuckers were among the top 16 finishers.

With the achievement, Mattituck competed as a team in the state meet for the fifth year in a row. Running in the cold at Chenango Valley State Park in Chenango Forks, Mattituck captured fifth place, turning in its best performance since 2012, when it was fourth.

“There was a little bit of buzz about doing well up there, so the girls had a little added pressure,” coach Julie Milliman said. “I can’t imagine a season not ending up there because that’s how it’s ended the last five years, and we’re lucky.”

It was more than luck that helped Pfennig finish 13th in 19:49.7 in the five-kilometer Class C race. Also scoring for Mattituck were Payton Maddaloni (34th in 20:24.5), Conroy (47th in 20:35.6), Sascha Rosin (65th in 21:19.3) and Megan Dinizio (101st in 22:18.0).

“That’s not bad,” Pfennig said. “We’re the small Class C team from Long Island, from Mattituck. We’re not very known for cross country.”

Well, that may have changed.

Photo caption: Melanie Pfennig. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

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